Life Coach Magazine


By Cbhojwani

RandomlyIt was almost a decade ago when the iconic Twin Towers fell and the world witnessed one of the worst acts of terrorism in its history. Almost 10 years later, the US finally found the culprit and dealt their own swift brand of justice, leading to celebrations across the globe. Although most would’ve wished for this result to have been achieved sooner, they’re relieved that it finally came. It’s amazing what the Americans can achieve when the Playstation network is down!
RandomlyThe effects of 9/11 were widely documented and televised; however, very little light was shed on the side effects the [immigrant, foreign, international] survivors would have to face. I recall being in New York on that historic day, wanting to help with rescue efforts and clearing up of rubble, when my Chinese friend pointed out something that never crossed my mind: that I may not be welcome because of the color of my skin. The next day, the news reported on some Sikhs in Queens being physically abused by New Yorkers simply because they wore turbans and kept a heavy beard. No one asked if they were Hindu or Muslim, if they were Indian, Pakistani or Afghani. It didn’t matter, as they were brown and were the closest target available.
RandomlyDuring those tense months, - or should I say, years - those with brown skin and South Asian passports had the monopoly on ‘Random’ checks at the airport. It got to a point where you had to leave home an additional half hour earlier just to make time for the ‘Random’ checks; and when you were predictably selected, you couldn’t help but chuckle (especially when they referred to them as ‘Random’). Jesus, with those odds, we could’ve made millions in Vegas!
RandomlyFortunately, this was almost 10 years ago, and surely people aren’t as ignorant anymore. They must know the difference between Indians and Muslims, between Indians, Pakistanis and Afghanis, between a genuine ‘random’ check and racial profiling. If you believe this, you would be greatly mistaken. In 2009, Bollywood Superstar, Shahrukh Khan was detained at Newark Airport in New Jersey. Although many would accept the act if it was a result of his melodramatic acting, it was because his name was Khan. At least it helped him with the title of his next movie.
In 2009, I, too, made a trip to Florida for a wedding and fell victim to similar profiling. My passport was scrutinized to such an extent that the immigration officer almost rubbed my bloody visa off the page! I was asked to provide a wealth of information, including my hotel reservation, return ticket, original wedding invitation and details of the individual I was sharing a room with. After being subjected to numerous checks, I feared (and expected) the worst - a cavity search! Fortunately, they eventually let me through, but other guests weren’t so lucky and were seen painfully waddling out of the airport.
As the saying goes, ‘Time Heals all wounds’, and in 2011 I made another trip to Florida, and was sure it would be a smoother process. I soon realised the ‘Random’ epidemic had now spread to London! After being asked a wealth of questions, the Chinese check-in agent had marked my boarding card! Next, without shoes or belt, I strolled through the security check, and in spite of not having any metal on me, the metal detectors managed to detect something! Pulled aside, I had apparently been selected for a ‘Random’ check, this time by an Indian fellow. Suddenly, I could hear the ‘Jackpot’ Bells of Vegas ringing in my head all over again. Irritated, I made my way to the gate and flashed my boarding card at the entrance and was once again asked to step aside for a ‘Random’ security check - and would you believe it, by a Sikh! It was more of the same in the US and heading out of the US, too! I had to walk through machines and checks that no one else did, and although it was funny at first, it got insulting and fast!
Some may argue that these are isolated incidents, and perhaps Shahrukh and I resemble individuals on the United States Most Wanted List, but they would be seriously mistaken. Towards the end of 2010, two of India's senior most diplomats, both based in the United States, were subjected to overly cautious ‘Pat-Down’ searches while taking domestic flights. It was the fact that Ambassador Meera Shankar, India's envoy to the United States, was dressed in a saree that caught the eye of the officer and led to her being singled out. Similarly, Hardeep Puri, India’s permanent envoy to the United Nations, is a Sikh who wears a turban and was expectedly subjected to one of those infamous ‘Random’ checks. The uproar caused an investigation which led to the following;
The U.S. Department of State has reached out to the ambassador and has regretted what all happened. The Embassy is in touch with the State Department on this issue."- Virendar Paul, Indian Embassy.
Who knows, perhaps my apology is in the mail?
RandomlyAlmost a decade has passed since humankind witnessed one of the worst atrocities of our time, and although we’ve learned a great deal in that time, it’s evident that a part of the world continues to remain ignorant. While the continued targeting of South Asian nationals and brown skin keeps racial profiling alive, it’s clear that things aren’t going to get better any time soon. Yes, the architect of 9/11 allegedly lays in a watery grave, but what happens now? The news is littered with concerns of a retaliation, and rightfully so. Fanatics blinded by false ideology and promises of 72 virgins in the afterlife will undoubtedly want revenge for the slaying of their leader;Randomly
"We in Al-Qaeda organisation pledge to Allah the Almighty and ask his help, support and steadfastness to continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders’. The statement promised that America and those who live in the US will never enjoy security until our people in Palestine enjoy it". – Jakarta Globe, 6th May.
After a decade of fear and nerves, the entire world will more than likely remain hostage to the whims of various terror groups, and in that time, Indians will continue to remain victim to the whims of immigration and airport security in the U.S., and perhaps even in other countries. I suppose the best we can hope for is that the Playstation network continues to stay down, and the U.S. can locate all potential threats and deal with them as necessary.
Till then, see you at the security check! My name is, Bhojwani.Chandru Bhojwani

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